Brook Time Check Company

Frank Brook was probably the UK's most influential person regarding the development and production of time recorders.

The following information is a summary of the information given in one of Paul Harrison's excellent and comprehensive publications HARRISON P (1991) A Series of Papers on the Early History and Development of Industrial Time Recorders - Paper 1 - Gledhill-Brook Time Recorder Co. Ltd, England, 1912-1964.

Brooks Time Check RecorderWhile working at Martins cloth Mill in Huddersfield as a weaver around 1888, he also ran a small business in the sale and repair of watches. The manager of the mill was looking for ways to accurately record the arrival and departure times of his employees to eliminate the conflicts between the time keeper and his workers. Frank Brook, with the help of Ulrich Feicher (a clock maker from Switzerland), obliged by inventing a machine to record the 'checks' deposited by workers on arrival and departure. Understandably this machine was very unpopular with the workers, and therefore popularity with Frank Brook, so he left the mill to focus on the development and production of time recorders. His first successful patent was in 1893, which led to the manufacture of the 'Paragon' time checker machine marketed by the Brook Time Check Company formed in 1896.

Here is a photo of a Paragon Time Checker Machine from around 1898 Brook's Paragon time Checker
Here are photos of a 'check' used in the machine

Brook Time Check

Brook Time Check


The company was not successful, and dissolved in 1899. Undeterred, Frank Brook's continued enthusiasm for time recorders led him to be a sole trader selling the more advanced American Bundy machines (key & card) between 1899 and 1907, while still patenting his own ideas and modifications to existing models.

In 1907 he formed a partnership with a fellow inventor and patentee of time recorders, JJ Stockall Jr of JJ Stockall & Sons, forming the 'Stockall-Brook Company'. This company ran until it's liquidation in 1911.

His perseverance eventually paid off when forming a partnership with Arthur Gledhill in 1912, establishing the Gledhill-Brook Time Recorder Company, which became a very successful manufacturer of high quality time recorders in the UK.